Millions of Americans rely on pills in hopes of helping them manage their depression, anxiety and stress levels. Increased medications and their side effects, have become an all-too-real reality in the everyday lives of our society. For those interested in a natural alternative, there are emerging studies that make a case for why you may want to look to upper cervical chiropractic.
In a small study, 5 patients suffering from anxiety and depression symptoms received upper cervical chiropractic care. Four of five “expressed satisfaction with the outcome and that they would recommend similar care to others with anxiety or depression. Participants also reported decrease in muscle tension and pain and increase in mental clarity and physical energy … The results provide tentative support for the effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic care for anxiety and depression symptoms.” (1)
In another study of 15 patients who were suffering from depression and also an upper cervical misalignment, 11 of the 15 participants noted a significant improvement in depression symptoms. (2)
That being said, even though there is reason to believe that upper cervical procedures could benefit a percentage of the depressed population, at this time it would be inappropriate to assert that a correction of the upper cervical subluxation would ‘reverse’ years of psychological trauma or all types of clinical depression due to the wide and varied causes of clinical depression.
A subluxation or misalignment in the upper cervical (neck) region, can negatively affect the brain and spinal cord. A misalignment in this area can affect proper blood flow to and from the brain as well as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow which is critically important for supplying nutrients to the nervous system and eliminating waste products. Also located in this region is the brain stem which controls the autonomic functions within your body such as your heart rate, breathing, swallowing, digestion, etc. Not only are these vital functions regulated by the brain stem, but it also regulates and controls brain chemistry. Many mood disorders show the likely involvement of the brain stem and the upper cervical spine. After a trauma, mood disorders can be immediately triggered, or they can take months or years to evolve.
If you have a misalignment of the top two bones in your spine (the C1/atlas or the C2/axis), then pressure, tension or irritation can be applied to the brain stem and affect its ability to function properly and effectively. Proper CSF drainage as well as the restoration of normal vertebral blood flow can help be accomplished with a proper correction of an upper cervical misalignment.
Studies show that the diagnosis of depression is common in individuals who have experienced whiplash (if you click whiplash, can we make it so that it takes you to our page about whiplash (another condition)) which is an injury that can affect the brain stem and the upper neck. Even a mild concussion (link to our concussion condition page) can increase the risk of depression and affect the brain stem and the upper spine.
If you are interested in finding out more about this safe, alternative and noninvasive procedure, contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
- Roth L, Zelman D, et. al. Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care as a Complimentary Strategy for Depression and Anxiety: A prospective case series analysis. Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research. June 20, 2013
- Genthner GC, Friedman HL and Studley CF. Improvement in depression following reduction of upper cervical vertebral subluxation using Orthospinology Technique. JVSR. Nov. 7, 2005;1-4